Travel

The Top 4 Indonesian Islands

The Indonesian islands are among some of the most beautiful in the world. They’re vast, and they’re home to some of the most incredible culture, nature, and beauty. All of the islands are a hub for tourist activity, one of the main reasons being it’s just so cheap. Getting to the islands by plane sometimes isn’t the cheapest, but the actual spending money of the holiday will cost next to nothing. It’s a hub for families, friends, and partners alike, but there are five islands that we really want to talk about. The ones that stand out from the crowd and have the ability to make your holiday truly amazing. If you’re interested, here are our top picks and why you should have a visit.

Lombok

It has always been said that Lombok is the sister to Bali. Bali has always overshadowed it due to its immense popularity and the big reputation. But more and more people are now recognising Lombok for the amazing little island it is. There are regular boat trips from Bali to Lombok if you’re perhaps already got a holiday booked in Bali. Due to it being inferior to Bali, it does also mean that the prices of the holidays are a little cheaper which makes the whole ordeal a ton better. The cute little beachside hotels that you’ll find are just amazing. They’re as cheap as chips, and offer some of the most amazing morning views. Other more inland hotels are still just as good, and maybe even cheaper! People flood to Lombok for the beautiful beaches, wide variety of nature and culture, and for the great food. Just stroll along the beach and you’ll find some lovely bars and restaurants. If you want to get about and see the island, you should definitely consider hiring a moped. It might sound like a death wish to some, but it’s one of the best and quickest ways of seeing the island. Just make sure you’re staying sharp for other drivers on the road. The beautiful hikes that are dotted around the island is one of the best things you can do. Getting back at one with nature and exploring the island in its true glory is what it’s all about. You’ll see some amazing sights, and find some incredible bits of culture. Here are some more cool things that you can do in Lombok, https://homeiswhereyourbagis.com/en/15-things-you-should-see-on-lombok/.

Java

Java is one of the quickest growing islands in terms of popularity and economy. It is home to Indonesia’s bustling capital, Jakarta, and both are well worth a visit. Again, it’s pretty cheap, but possibly more expensive than some of the smaller islands due to the increased population. If you’re going to go to Java, you should know it is a Volcano dotted island with some of the most stunning scenery you’ll find. The tree’s are that luscious green and densely packed, and the higher you go, the more you’re going to discover in terms of amazing views. Talking about volcanos, one of the biggest that inhibits the island is Mount Bromo. It is a volcano that is mostly dormant, but does occasionally erupt. A trip up there to watch the sunrise is going to be one of the best experience of your life.

A lot of people chose to take a car, but there are hiking options. As for places to stay, Java is full of them. Because the island is one of the bigger ones, you’ve got the option of going a bit more out of the way, more nature based, but you also have to option of heading to the city to have that hustle and bustle vibe. There are the options to even rent a home which can give you a more central location, and a bit more comfort in terms of where you’re stopping. A lot of people are now choosing to get either a holiday home, or enter the property ladder in terms of buying and selling due to the fast growing economy of the country. If you’re interested in something like this, links such as https://www.rumah.com/villa/dijual have got some great pieces of real estate that might tickle your fancy.

If you’re looking for the more relaxing side of Java, we recommend you head to Pangandaran, a lovely city close to Jakarta. There’s a white sand stretch of beach with some lovely crystal blue sea to go with it. So many people that travel there comment on the fresh seafood, it is actually one of the islands biggest hits. Our final place for this one is for all of you shopping lovers out there. Bandung is one of the best areas that you can go to for some quality shopping. There’s a mix of designer shops as well as the smaller individual owned shops.

Flores

Flores is similar to Lombok in that it’s rising in popularity as the years pass by. It is the smallest islands that we’ve mentioned so far, but don’t let the size fool you, this one really packs a punch. It is most famously known to be the home of the fierce komodo dragon, you’ll definitely see a few of them roaming around during your stay here. So, if you’re heading there, one of the first things we recommend you do is check out the snorkeling or scuba diving scene.

There are some crystal blue waters that are densely populated by an array of amazing sea life. You can expect to see sting rays, turtles, as well as tropical fish. From Flores you can also get a boat ride to the smaller, yet exciting Komodo Island. It gets its name from the habitation of fierce Komodo dragons that you’ll find. It’s a beautiful island and gives you some great experiences in terms of getting close to nature. Another hot spot is definitely the lakes of Kelimutu. Kelimutu is a volcano that remains mainly dormant, but the ready it attracts so many people is due to the three crater lakes that all have different colours. There’s green, blue, and red, and all of them are so vibrant and mesmerising. There are daily guided hikes up the mountain, but a lot of people chose to go off on their own adventure to see what they can discover.

Gili Islands

Ok, so technically this is a few islands in one. But collectively, the three Gili islands make some of the best places to go on holiday if you want that relaxing beach vibe as well as stunning scenery. If you’ve ever seen those pictures of the crystal blue waters with a wooden swing lying close to the shore surrounded by the most pure and white sands? Well it was most likely taken at one of the three Gili islands. There’s Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. All are just as popular as each other.

Just like island of Flores, the Gili islands are a firm favourite for divers and the marine wildlife is just so vast. If you’re not certified to dive, you could always put on your snorkeling mask and you’ll be in for a treat. If you’re looking for the island with the perfect mix of beaches that will leave you feeling as though you’re in heaven, but some nightlife that will leave you partying until the morning, then Gili Trawangan is your island. Gili Meno is the island that offers pure tranquility. The beaches are so private yet luxurious. In contrast to Gili Trawangan, there’s a ban on any late partying, so it truly is an island where you’ll be able to escape it all. Gili air is so similar to Gili Trawangan in that it offers the same experience, just on a shorter scale.

 So there you go, those are the best Indonesian islands that we recommend going to. All of them will create that unforgettable feeling you’ve been waiting for.

 

Making memories in Crete

2017 was the first time we went abroad as a family. In fact it was the first time me and the Hubby has been abroad in the then 11 years we had been together. We headed to Crete one of the many Greek islands, with our 2 very excited children and my Mother and Father in law.

We chose the tiny little coast town of Almyrida and the most fabulous private villa up on the hill side about a 5 minute drive out of the town itself. We hired 2 cars that we collected at the airport nice and easily, it was about a 45 minute drive along to the coast from the airport to our villa. The drive gave us time to take in the beautiful island.

The villa

Our villa was fabulous, set up the hill with views over the valley, across the town and out towards the sea. The villa also had it’s own private pool, set in a olive grow. The villa had 3 bedrooms, 2 double and a twin each with ensuite bathrooms on the ground floor. Then upstairs there was an open plan kitchen, dinning and living room, with doors out on to the wrap around balcony. The balcony became home to breakfast, board game in the evenings and many glasses of wine of the adults.

The Beach

The beach was lovely, sat right in Souda Bay. We spent a couple of lovely days on the beach. We hired lounger chairs from the local hotel at €3 each, but it was also perfect because it mean that the bar staff from the hotel came down onto the beach taking orders for food and drinks.

Although as a family we had been on UK coastal holidays, being able to spend a whole day on the beach was lovely. We made sand castles, played with the beach ball and swam. We ordered food and drink from the hotel bar, which was all reasonably priced. For those couple of days of family fun making memories was worth every penny that the holiday cost us. Even now almost a year later we are talking about the holiday and the child are asking about when we can return to Crete.

The food

Greek food is some of the best in the world. Freshly made salads that are just out of this world, fresh fish dishes are very popular, things like moussaka, stifado, souvlaki are all popular. They also cater wonderfully for the children. The hubby tried the very popular lamb and goat meals, while I stuck to the fresh fish and salads. Oh I also loved the fried cheese, stuffed vine leaves, that we shared for starters most evening. Every time you go into a restaurant for a meal, they bring you ice cold water to drink while you choose your meals, they when they bring you your bill they bring out a small dessert, or bite size piece of cake.

The Island

making memories in crete

The island of Crete is just beautiful, steeped in history. We visited Chania and Rethymnon both old Venetian harbour towns. We wondered around, popping in and out of the shops and beautiful cafes. If you love seafood you must pop to Rethymnon as the restaurants around the harbour have the most amazing selection of fresh sea food. Although we didn’t you can take a boot trip out to sea from the harbours which we plan to do when we next visit the island.

Even though Almayda is small town, they have everything we wanted. A couple of small super markets, a bakery that sold the tastiest cakes, an ice cream shop, only a hand full of shops and then a nice selection of restaurants and taverns.

We loved our week in Crete, the Cretans are some of the friendliest people you could wish to meet. All so helpful in shops, brilliant with the children and in the restaurants more than happy to explain what the food is and what it contains. We are going to go back but next time with think we will look at an all inclusive holiday. We have found some great ones here https://www.holidaygems.co.uk/all-inclusive-holidays We made memories that will last a lifetime and cannot wait to make some more during our next adventure.

Have you ever visited Crete? What did you think to the island?

 

*This post was made in collaboration with Holiday Gems. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

My travel bucket list

In my early 20’s I was lucky enough to visit, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Singapore and various European locations. However since having children the travelling took a back seat and we spent time visiting various parts of the UK. Last year however we took the children to Crete and to Finland, which has given me the travel bug. It’s made me think about places I would like to visit. Ok, it’s not going to all happen right now, but there are so many beautiful places in the world to visit, it’s hard to have a small bucket list.

My travel bucket list

I have often read about families selling everything up and going travelling for as long as possible and as much I this would be amazing, I just don’t think we would be brave enough to do it. However, I have put together my travel bucket list, of 3 destinations that I would love to visit.

Bali

I have friend who have visited Bali and just listening to them talk about this paradise location makes me want to visit. Bali is one of the many islands found within Indonesia, it is home to about 4 million people and well know for it’s culture and spirituality. There is a range of landscapes from sandy beaches, to mountains, hills and rugged coast lines. Bali has a wealth of culture and history, it’s a great location for both relaxation and adventure. Bali is a brilliant destination for water sports and well as spiritual retreats. Bail is on my bucket travel list because whatever you are looking for Bali has it.

Mauritius

The island of Mauritius is set in the Indian Ocean, it is very popular destination with honeymooners. Mauritius has those picture perfect turquoise waters and white sand beaches, perfect for spending your days enjoying cocktails and enjoying swimming in the warm waters. Mauritius also is great for water sports.

The island of Mauritius isn’t just about beaches and swimming, it is home to amazing cuisine, history, culture. There is also the possibility to travel around the island to different locations, the Botanical gardens, rum distillery, navel museums and not forgetting snorkelling on the coral reefs around the island. The island has everything you could want from a paradise destination holiday.

Thailand

travel-bucket-list

Top of my travel bucket list is Thailand, a place I have wanted to visit for years. I have many friends who have visited Thailand on their travels, I also have a friend who is wanting to move over to Thailand to live. I however am drawn to Thailand for its tropical climate, diverse range of lifestyles, culture, cities, history, paradise beaches and the possibility to island hop.

Thailand offers secluded retreats for that time of relaxation away from the busy tourist areas. The little islands of Thailand are all so very beautiful each offering something different. If you are wanting the busier night life then that can be found in Patong or the capital of Bangkok were you can find more of that city life, with apartment builds and hotels, lots of restaurant and shopping.

Which location would be a the top of your travel bucket list? Destination2 have a a fabulous selection of destinations to choose from, whatever you are looking for you can find it with Destination2 no matter your budget.

 

*This post was made in collaboration with Destination2. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Planning a holiday overseas? Don’t forget these five essentials

If you are planning to go overseas this year the first time, you are bound to forget some of the essential items that will make your holiday run smoothly. Travelling overseas is different from visiting one of the popular Mediterranean resorts, and requires more planning. To make the most out of your time and your travel experience, below you will find a list of essential things to take care of before you jump on the plane.

planning-a-holiday

International Drivers’ License

If you think that you can cover large distances in America or Asia using public transport, you might have to think again. UK tourists often underestimate the size of one state in India or the United States. You might be better off driving yourself from the airport to your destination, and visiting local attractions using a hire car. If you stay at Hartford Marriott Farmington in Connecticut, for example, your closest local airport will be over 20 miles away.  Just in case, you will need to have an international driver license ready, so you can hire a car at your location and see more of the area.

Travel Insurance Documents

While you might have your policy number stored on your mobile phone or laptop, you will need to have the policy documents printed off, too. This way, the local travel agent or embassy can contact your insurance company, in case you have to make a claim or arrange alternative accommodation. When you travel overseas, local companies will know close to nothing about European policies and procedures.

Travel Checks Or Money and Visa

When travelling overseas, you will need to pay using a traveller’s check or your card. Some banks will charge you a one-off transaction fee for every overseas payment, which makes going on a holiday extremely expensive. You might be better off with travel checks and vouchers. Cash is not a good alternative, as it is not very safe to keep on you all the time. You should also keep your visa documents handy, ready to show in case you are stopped by the police or need to show a proof of your travel at the hotel.

Proper Cuppa

The thing you will miss the most during your overseas travels is a nice cup of tea. Taking your favourite blend with you can be a great idea, and essential to keep you sane. One of the most important things to remember when travelling abroad is comfort food, snacks, and your favourite drinks. Without them, you might feel frustrated and lost.

Plug Adaptors

Finally, you will have to check what type of plug they use at your holiday destination and invest in a few plug adaptors. There is nothing more annoying than not being able to charge your phone, shaver, and laptop while spending a week travelling. Check out the voltage and make sure that all your electrical equipment will work fine.

Travelling overseas is a great way of experiencing new cultures and something completely different. Make sure you pack everything and print all your necessary documents before you set off for the adventure.